Uganda Investment and How to Start a Business in Uganda

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Are you looking for Uganda Investment Opportunities?, Few countries in Africa provide the sort of strategic location that Uganda offers to the investors.

The country is located at the heart of East and Central Africa, a region that includes some of Africa’s most economically endowed nations.

This location at the heart of sub Saharan African gives Uganda commanding importance as a base for regional trade and investment.

The government actively encourages investment by permitting the importation of capital equipment free of VAT and duty. The incentive regime on offer provides substantial benefits to the private sector.

At the same time, the government is committed to full liberalisation of the economy in order to allow the private sector to flourish.

There are no barriers whatsoever to the nature of business activity nor to ownership of private enterprises.

100% foreign ownership of projects is allowed. The private sector enjoys a healthy dialogue with government over policy through various lobby groups such as the Private Sector Foundation, the Chamber of Commerce and Uganda Manufacturers Association.

Above all, government has set up the Uganda Investment Authority to be a ‘one-stop facilitator’ for foreign and local investment and is responsible for: -

• Receiving all applications for investment licences for investors intending to set up business enterprises in Uganda

• Issuing investment licences

• Securing all licences, authorisations, approvals and permits necessary to give full effect to the approved investment licence

• Recommending to the Government of Uganda national policies and programmes designed to provide investment in Uganda

• Providing information on matters relating to investment in Uganda

• Assisting potential investors in identifying and establishing investment projects in Uganda• Locating land for industrial use


Along with its excellent macro-economic record, Uganda provides the following incentives for private investors: -

• Uniform Corporation Tax rate of 30%.

• Import duty exemption/concessions for plant & machinery

• Duty draw back facility for exporters

• Special investment allowance in form of accelerated depreciation of 50-75% on plant and machinery

• 100% initial allowance for training, scientific research and mineral exploration expenditures

• VAT deferral facilities


In addition to local and international commercial banks, three development banks operate in Uganda and provide development loans to finance commercial, industrial and agricultural development projects.


The foreign exchange market is now wholly liberalised following a move by government, effective July 1997 to liberalise capital account transactions. Thus investors are free to bring in and take out capital without restriction.


The investment code allows foreign investors to invest in all fields except those, which compromise national security and ownership of land. Regarding land, foreign investors may, however, lease land for up to 99 years.

Foreign investors can also participate in joint ventures involving the outright purchase of agricultural land. For such cases, Ugandans must hold majority stake.

Uganda investment and Employment Regulations


Statutory benefits and protection applicable to workers are currently provided principally by nine legislative acts. The Employment Decree of 1975 and Employment Regulations of 1977 cover contract of service, termination of contract, termination notices, protection of wages, hours of work, rest and holidays, employment of young persons and care of employees. This covers all manual employees.


The normal weekly hours of any employee must not exceed 48 hours. Any overtime worked must be paid at one and a half times the normal rate of pay.


Wages are paid in local currency and no unauthorised deductions can be made from the employee’s wages except:

• Contribution to the National Social Security Fund

• Graduated tax instalments

• Income tax


Employment of women except those holding positions of management and are not performing manual work, is prohibited.An employer is required to grant maternity leave to a pregnant female employee of 45 days for civil servants while for private employment as agreed through collective bargaining.

Contract of services cannot be made with the persons below 18 years of age.

People under 16 years are not allowed to work unless on apprenticeship training.

They are not allowed to work during the night in any industrial undertaking.

A separate register for young persons is required, stating their age and condition and nature of their employment.


The Social Security Fund is a workers’ saving scheme sponsored by the government for the benefit of members.

All establishments in the country having at least five employees are required to pay Social Security contributions to the fund, including the employee’s share of standard contribution based on wages earned. Employers contribute 10% of the wages/salaries and employees pay 5%.


Legal action deriving from the labour law falls within the jurisdiction of the labour courts.

Questions on labour laws may be directed to the labour commissioner and advice can always be sought from the labour office of the area.

Before any matter is brought to the labour court, generally there must be an attempt at conciliation heard by arbitration tribunals, Boards of Enquiry and conciliation.


Employers intending to bring in highly specialised workers are asked to advertise those vacancies in the local press, radio and television.

Only when persons with the required expertise are not locally available should applications for work permits for foreign workers be sought from the Immigrant Control Board for a specific period of time.

If an investment licence has been obtained, then the application should be made through the Uganda Investment Authority who recommends to the Immigrant Control Board whether or not the work permit should be issued.


All visitors are required to have passports valid three months after period of intended stay.

Visas are required for visitors except some nationalities from commonwealth countries.

The investors, workers and technocrats employed are required to pay a bond equivalent to a one-way ticket which remains their money.

Work permits are given for a minimum period of one year and amaximum of three years but are renewable for a longer period.

Uganda Investment and How to Start a Business in Uganda

More Pages about Business in Uganda

Uganda Iron and Steel Business Potentials› | Uganda Dairy Sector › | Uganda Education Sector Business Potentials › | Uganda ICT Sector Business Potentials › | Uganda Mining Sector Business Potentials › | Uganda Tourism Sector Business Potentials › | Uganda Forestry Sector Business Potentials › | Uganda Cotton Sector Business Potentials › | Uganda Fish Sector Business Potentials › | Uganda Investment in General  Business Potentials › |

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